What Could Have Been - Bruno Denied Oscar Host Gig - NBC New York

Complete coverage of the 85th annual Academy Awards

What Could Have Been - Bruno Denied Oscar Host Gig



    We're thrilled with the dual hosting honors bestowed upon Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin for the Oscars March 7, but before the Acadaemy made the call, it ruled out a very interesting choice.

    Sasha Baron Cohen (along with his outrageous other personalities) was initially considered for the gig, according to producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic, who were interviewed Thursday by Teri Gross on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air."

    This would have no doubt meant the appearance of Cohen's out-there comedy alter egos: the rapper Ali G, Kazakhstan journalist Borat and the fashion plate Bruno.

    Shankman said that just as quickly as they told the Academy of their idea, "the Academy swatted it down. They thought it was too big of a wild card."

    No doubt it was an ambitious call that would have caused a lot of sleepless nights for Academy brass before the live cameras rolled for a worldwide audience. And no doubt a few headaches the morning after the telecast. But it certainly would have brought in the younger crowd and would have meant some fresh air in a sometimes stuffy room.

    But the story is worth more than a good a a laugh. It shows the directors are willing to consider anything to shake the dust off the show  -- even a man who wears a neon man-thong in his day job as a host.

    That should be applauded. But we're still clapping about the final decision of Martin and Baldwin.